In a game as boring as sin, to where does the pundit turn? Invariably there is some off the pitch drama that serves as a backdrop to the game and can be analysed every which way. Oh goodness, Paul Pogba on the bench again? What is it this time, the flu?
As it happened, coverage of the game would have been better served not watching the pitch, but just trained in on the Manchester United dugout, the commentators recounting all the inconspicuous, non-verbal digs between Mourinho and Pogba.
“Steve McManaman, does that look like Pogba’s just given his manager the finger?”
“Oh I don’t know about dat dere, ah kid, but I reckon Mourinho’s just cupped a fart in his face.”
Yes, the last-16 Champions League game between Sevilla and Manchester United last night was crap. Sevilla, who are bottom of the top 10 La Liga sides in the goal-scoring tally, stayed true to their form and were properly shit in front of goal.
Despite that, they did have some quality players who performed well in the game. Midfielders Ever Banega and former Stoke City donkey turned central midfield stalwart Steven N’Zonzi bossed the middle of the park. The Spanish side also had a very nifty winger in the form of the Argentine Joaquin Correa, who on one or two occasions had United full-back Antonio Valencia’s pants down when cutting in to shoot at goal. Unfortunately, however, those shots tended to be proper pea rollers.
But they also had a couple of pretty atrocious players. As a team, they seemed adept at moving the ball skilfully up through the midfield and getting into dangerous areas around the outside of the box. Then, they would apparently get sight of goal and promptly shit themselves. They seemed unwilling to get the ball out to the aforementioned Correa, who was obviously their biggest threat on the night. Instead, they invariably opted for their Colombian forward Luis Muriel who, as it turns out, couldn’t hit water while standing on a boat.
The sole notable highlight of the game came in the dying seconds of the first half when that man Muriel was on the end of a great cross from Jesus Navas, only to see his bullet header kept out by a “wonder save” from David de Gea. Now don’t get me wrong, it was a very good save. It’s not like he’s known nothing about it and it’s hit him in the face. He flung his arm out to palm it away. But let’s be honest, the header was crap! I mean yes, he didn’t miss the target, but it would have been a mighty good effort to do that. But five yards out, no defenders anywhere near him, and heading it almost straight at the keeper? I would say it’ll be one of those that’s replaying over and over in his head, but he’s probably got so many misses up there they just cancel each other out.
As it happens, Mourinho did a Mourinho. He went and frustrated a low-scoring team into a 0-0 draw. That’s his bread and butter. He said after the game: “I’m not happy, I’m not unhappy.” That pretty much sums up the Mourinho footballing philosophy: kill them with apathy. You might win, you might not, but you’ll hate the whole experience.
Hell, maybe the Champions League just isn’t for me. With Rochdale on their way to Wembley and Wigan knocking out one of the best footballing sides in Europe, I might just stick to FA Cup football from now on.